The sound of a lion’s roar nearby is heart-stopping, an iconic and primal resonance that permeates the memory of any such encounter with one of these super predators – the largest of African carnivores. So powerful are these cats that they are obliged to spend most of their lives resting – often nearly comatose, always in close proximity of one another – to recuperate the extensive energy spent when they are active. But don’t be fooled, one hint of disturbance – or food – and they’re up and in full-blown lion mode in a moment.
These impressive cats (the only social cats on the savanna) dominate the predator hierarchy because of their size and cooperative nature. They steal food from other predators and kill them and their offspring as opportunity presents. Hyenas are especially maligned, but only prove to be real competition if they exist in significantly greater numbers, and even a clan of hyenas don’t stand too much chance against a pride if male lions are in the mix. Elephants chase and kill lions to protect their young, as will herds of buffalo. But, in a turn of ecological pay-back, the kills that lions make provision many, including hyena, jackal and vultures who scavenge the often ample leftovers.